Inline analytics, the most popular form of embedding, is Stage 2 in the Embedded Analytics Maturity Model. In this model, the analytics functionality appears inside the overall user interface of the application, creating a better user experience.
Inline analytics is often implemented as a reports tab or module. Another example would be a dashboard on the homepage of the application that users see directly upon logging in. With analytics integrated at the presentation tier of the application, it is ideal for the look and feel of the analytics functionality to match the user interface of the main application.
Application providers choose the inline analytics model when users demand easy and frequent access to analytics. Most third-party analytics applications can be embedded using this approach, so there are a lot of options available to “bolt on” to an application. Users are also very comfortable with the reports module approach (as used by Salesforce.com, for example), so it’s not surprising that inline analytics is the most common model for embedded analytics.